Brain Autopsy and Brain Donation of Alzheimer’s Patients

By American Geriatrics Society (AGS)

Many advances in scientists’ understanding of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and its effects upon the brain have come from the study of brains donated by the families of deceased Alzheimer’s patients. In addition, some families find closure when they choose to donate their loved one’s brain, because a post-mortem brain autopsy is still the only way to confirm a diagnosis of AD with absolute certainty.

Brain autopsy may involve cost, and special arrangements must be made prior to your loved one’s death.

If you decide to donate your loved one’s brain after her death, you need to start the process now. Through brain donation, you help researchers as they look for answers to prevent dementia and AD as well as define future treatments. However, because brain tissue is only viable for 24 hours after a person dies, arrangements must be made well in advance of your loved one’s death. Contact a research center, brain bank, or university to make brain donations arrangements.

For more information on brain donation, contact your local Alzheimer’s Association or check these websites: